Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun Concepts: Alternate Planes Prime...

Good Evening, All:

I have to admit that I like the concept of alternate Planes Prime, and given my druthers as either a GM or a player, I'd rather explore alternate Planes Prime than the Outer Planes any day of the week. When I eventually consolidate my various prior gaming worlds into a single campaign setting for my future games, the role of alternate Planes Prime will likely be heavily emphasized. Indeed, I probably will explain some of the Outer Planes as simply alternate Planes Prime and parallel dimensions with unusual natural laws, while keeping the concept of the Spirit Realm from the World Within as the home of the deities that will make up my consolidated pantheon.

One of the things I like about the concept is that the walls between worlds can be as thick or as thin as you want it or need it to be. Natural phenomenon, such as Banestorms (borrowed from the GURPS Fantasy world of Yrth) or wormholes (from the TV series Primeval), can provide temporary holes in the fabric of reality, allowing PCs to travel to strange and unusual places, face creatures that are not native to the region or experience bizarre environments due to the mixing of worlds. Magical spells may go awry via wild magic that comes from an unstable connection with another Plane Prime, and rituals may open portals to other worlds and possibly even other timelines.

Taken to the extreme, you end up with a smorgasbord setting with no true sense of continuity, much like the new version of Gamma Terra from the 4E version of Gamma World. However, when used sparingly for flavor and spice, alternate Planes Prime can add a lot to a setting, and is generally more accessible to a player's imagination than the Outer Planes might be, particularly those not entrenched in the lore of your campaign setting. Plus, you get to use that adventure from Dragon Magazine #100 where the PCs come to modern day Earth and steal an artifact from a museum. I've never used it, but I've always wanted to.

Have you ever considered what a campaign setting might look like if commonly encountered/visited alternate Planes Prime existed for the setting? I don't think anyone would publish such a thing directly, but I can see someone using an overarching meta-setting to integrate multiple published worlds under one campaign. In fact, I'm sure someone already has, but other than Suzerain and the 4th Edition GURPS meta-setting, I can't think of any, and neither of these two are purely fantasy-based. Does anyone know if there's something like that out there? I'd be interested in reading it and gleaning what I can from the experience.

With Regards,

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